9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship is beutiful. The shows are great. Service is not good. Everything is overpriced and we got the feeling that the entire ship is designed just to shake as much money out of us, while providing the minimum possible. I got a coffee ... Read More
The ship is beutiful. The shows are great. Service is not good. Everything is overpriced and we got the feeling that the entire ship is designed just to shake as much money out of us, while providing the minimum possible. I got a coffee card with 15 cups. When returning to Barcelona i still had 6 cups on the card - but they refused to accept it! No coffee for you sir... service is only for boarding passengers. you paid for your coffee card, but now get out of our ship! Cramping more than 6000 passengers in one ship os probably very profitable... but if you are looking for a good quality vacation, look elsewhere! You will be feeling the masses of people at lunch, dinner and wherever you go. Not fun and sometimes even hectic and hysterical. No value for money in this ship. Very expensive cruise, with bed service and subpar services Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Sunday: Boarded Symphony after a year in the planning! I even had a spreadsheet carefully calculating how to fit in each venue and show... Boarding in Barcelona was very quick indeed. I had Expedited boarding but DH didn’t. Not sure ... Read More
Sunday: Boarded Symphony after a year in the planning! I even had a spreadsheet carefully calculating how to fit in each venue and show... Boarding in Barcelona was very quick indeed. I had Expedited boarding but DH didn’t. Not sure why. So we still had to go to the counter. Whole process less than 10 minutes. Luggage delivered by 1:45. The ship is wow. Just wow. So following our spreadsheet we had a quick lunch ( gotta have that beef roll in Park Cafe on the first day... it’s tradition) then set about exploring. The Solarium is a glorious bright space. Fabulous furniture and pools. The bistro is gorgeous. Hooked looked a little “cold” but no one was in there so perhaps better when full.? Playmakers is another new venue. A huge hit with DH who declared he was going to stay there for the week. He was in his happy place with beer and 3 TV screens in front of him simultaneously showing Arsenal, cricket and the F1 racing..... They give you a sheet listing all the entertainment for the week (if you have not pre-planned) Symphony interports so some guests board in Rome. Rome boarders have orange sea pass cards. The Cruise compass does not say Day 1 , Day 2 .... but just the day of the week. Muster was strange. Standing in Cafe Promenade with a James Bond type spy spoof about safety on a very little screen. Then the 1977 ice show... no idea what the story was, but some spectacular skating and costume changes. And drones. After that the balloon drop.. 7000 balloons ... a cocktail in Jazz which is a wonderful comfy cosy space. And that was the end of day 1! Monday: Palma. It looks like we were docked further out than normal. They ran a shuttle into town for €10 pp return. We stayed on board and enjoyed the Solarium. Lunch at Loco Fresh which is another superb addition, open for breakfast and snacks till around 6p. In the afternoon we did the Escape Room ... got out with a minute to spare. It is much harder than the others I have done in Anthem and Harmony! The CC meeting had the Captain and several other senior officers ... shame only about 10 turned up! Bad timing to hold it at 4 when the C&A gathering was at 4:30 ... they said that they rarely even hold a CC meeting as so few sign up. We all got a bottle of wine. We only had 30 on our RC but it was good to put faces to names! Formal night... wow some very glamourous dresses... including some Chinese ladies in amazing national costumes and a group of Sweet 15s celebrating their Quinceañera Tuesday: Marseille, a new port for us. Walked out of the terminal past the long line of people waiting to pay €18pp for the transfer into town. Turn left for taxis or turn right and follow the green painted line for about 15 mins walk until you find the white tent where the FREE port shuttle leaves from! Runs every 20 mins apparently. It is a huge port and the shuttle actually drops you still inside the port. Walk across the small car park, through the gates and, voila you are in the city at Joliette! Possibly the dodgiest looking port entrance ever! Take good note of where the gate is do you can find it on your return! Wednesday-La Spezia. After more research we decided to DIY to the Cinque Terre. Bought the train tickets on line €16pp. Cab to the station was €15 Frequent trains running to a random timetable... but it worked! We only did 3 of the towns...Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore. All very charming and very pretty. A lot of steps! You get a wonderful view of Portovenere as you sail in portside. Something new! 3 vending machines selling everything from iPhone chargers, GHDs and to headache tablets! Only work when at sea. They also have one of those phone charging stations next to these. Very handy! Both Wonderland and Hooked do Happy Hour between 5-7p. In Wonderland their cocktails are usually $13 but in HH it is 2 for $15. They did not offer the 10 drinks card on board. Everything about this ship has been superb. Decor design service ambience food entertainment.. I cannot fault or criticise a single thing. Bigger is definitely best. RCI have got it right with this one. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
we booked the 7 night cruise leaving from Rome port. It is the easiest check ever, everything is electronic and mostly paperless We were in a superior balcony cabin and the set out was fantastic Plenty of storage space loved the ... Read More
we booked the 7 night cruise leaving from Rome port. It is the easiest check ever, everything is electronic and mostly paperless We were in a superior balcony cabin and the set out was fantastic Plenty of storage space loved the size of the show and colour scheme was great In terms of things to do where should I start, it just goes on and on and in my view nobody does on board activities like Royal Caribbean pools, spas table tennis, surf simulators, mini golf, basketball, water slides etc etc etc We chose to eat in the dinning room and did not go to the specialty restaurants . We booked our shows before we went on the ship and that was great in itself, you just showed your card and it bought up your photo We did go to a few shows including the Ice show 1977, Hairspray, Flight, comedy club and all shows had the wow factor The colour scheme on the ship was superb The biggest problem was you would need about 12 days to experience a lot of things Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Positive: we had a crown loft suite which is excellent and the cabin steward was excellent; we used the Coastal Kitchen most days and the food and service was also excellent as good as any great restaurant; There is a separate suites sun ... Read More
Positive: we had a crown loft suite which is excellent and the cabin steward was excellent; we used the Coastal Kitchen most days and the food and service was also excellent as good as any great restaurant; There is a separate suites sun deck with private bar and whirlpool bath; The shows very good. Negative: The rides are only open at certain times during the day and given that there are so many people on board creates a lot of queuing. The concierge: the website promised lots of service from the concierge, pre booking fast track access to the rides, a free day in the thermal spa area. We we asked for these and he said they were not available even though they had been advertised in the room on the daily events notice. Booking dinner reservations, great. Anything else, waste of time and a great disappointment compared to other services we have had like this. Fantastic ship, very big (obvs) lots of things to spend your money on even when you have already paid a large amount to be on board. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Words cannot express the feeling on board the Symphony of the Seas. The vibe is something to be experienced. The ship is best described as a floating resort! Clean staterooms, friendly staff, and always something to do are only a few of ... Read More
Words cannot express the feeling on board the Symphony of the Seas. The vibe is something to be experienced. The ship is best described as a floating resort! Clean staterooms, friendly staff, and always something to do are only a few of the impressive things about Symphony of the Seas. The Royal Promenade is something that leaves you speechless every time, and contrary to what many reviewers mentioned, there is rarely any crowding, even on sea days. The cabin was modern and clean. Beds were comfortable. Our stateroom attendant on deck 6, Eleasar, took great care of us! Dining was very good too... While there were a few disappointments (some of the bread was hard, and don't have the rib of beef, which tastes like some weird canned thing), the overall food quality was very good. Food was fresh, and I cannot forget those doughnuts for breakfast!! El Loco Fresh was a memorable experience. Being on the pool deck, and complimentary, the Mexican offerings were great. We loved the Quesadillas and Tacos! Chops Grille had a great ambiance and served very good steaks, but the highlight was definitely our dinner at Wonderland! Give that a try for a truly whimsical experience not to be missed, and don't let the price put you off. Another thank you goes to the Hatter at Wonderland - ta-da! Service at all these places across the board was stellar. I will not forget Lelanie and Asep at the Main Dining Room though! Truly great, entertaining service! Being the largest cruise ship in the world, entertainment and activities were plenty, and you cannot get bored. Hairspray was great, and so were the rest of the Royal Caribbean in-house shows. Though, a few of them, such as Flight, lacked a clear story, but were impressive in their own right, with great music, and where applicable, tricks and stunts. Mediterranean port offerings were great, though the Port area of Palma de Mallorca, was not too impressive, and I would have much rather stayed on board for that, or just gone off to see the cathedral and castle. Luca was a great and hugely informative guide on our Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii excursion. One disappointment though, was the other shore excursion we took - the Carrara Marble Tour. Besides the fact that the tour is clearly overpriced by no small margin, the description mentions caves, which we never got to see, since according to the operator, they are not included in the tour - something I confirmed after looking at the brochure. Instead, you get a tour of a Marble Quarry. Still interesting, though RCI should ensure that the description is changed adequately, and that the price is adjusted. While it is true that they drive to the ship to collect you, taking the tour straight from Carrara is 12 Euro per person, which does not justify why we paid over 180 euro for a 50 minute drive! Though, I must admit that this tour was still very interesting, and Filippo, the guide clearly knew his stuff and loved it. The description must simply be changed to reflect the actual tour. Also, beware the shopping on board, especially the sales. A tactic noted was a 75% sale on Invicta watches. A watch which one can buy elsewhere for $250 was priced at $1150 and marked down again to just over the normal retail price - a clear scam. So, do not trust these prices, and ensure that you know what you are getting into before making a purchase on board. In all, there's very little to complain about on the beautiful Symphony of the Seas! We travelled as a total of 10 people (two families), and loved it! There's always something to do, and the kids loved the slides, and everything else for them to do on board! One minor other complaint is the lack of a way to communicate on board. NCL and Disney offer a texting app on board for free - something that RCI would do well to look into. Otherwise, an amazing cruise, and an amazing ship! Full stars, and would definitely do it again! Symphony of the Seas is a true gem. While I have been on other cruises, none left such memories on us all. Simply put, the Oasis Class big ship experience is something to be experienced at least once, even by those who are not so fond of cruising! Also, another note: the seas got quite choppy at one point (close to 3m waves against the ship). That being said, it is great to note that these were hardly even felt in the ship - clearly showing the excellent design and build of the world's largest cruise ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We did love this ship, from the amazing technology, the phenomenal shows, the friendly staff, the Central Park, Promenade and Boardwalk areas, and the staterooms. But the reason it doesn’t get 5 stars is because I think the put too ... Read More
We did love this ship, from the amazing technology, the phenomenal shows, the friendly staff, the Central Park, Promenade and Boardwalk areas, and the staterooms. But the reason it doesn’t get 5 stars is because I think the put too many people on board and they can’t cope with the volume. For example, the hand sanitizer had often run out, the soap and hand towels in the entrance to the Windjammer was often also empty. Little things that they should be able to keep on top of. We also tried to do the Laser tag but each time we tried the queue was so big they told us we’d be there too long to have a go. You should be able to book a time slot for this. However it wasn’t all bad. Our stateroom was tastefully furnished. I liked the USB ports at the desk to charge phones etc. The bed was so comfortable, as we have found on all RC cruise ships we have been fortunate enough to sail on. The shower was great. Disappointed that they give you shampoo and not shower gel, I’d rather it be the other way round. I think most women would prefer to bring their own good quality shampoo, but shower gel it doesn’t really matter so much about. Our attendant was fab and always did a great job of making up our room. I love the Central Park area. I also loved that there are 3 pools. We always found sun beds. The water slides are great and not just for children! The staff all over the ship were friendly and attentive. We enjoyed the food every day. I would have like coffee stations on the pool deck like they have on Rhapsody as it was difficult to get a coffee mid afternoon when the Windjammer was closed and you are just having a pool afternoon. Also the ice cream was soft and runny and collapsed when you tried to dispense it. I would return to Symphony but would like to try some of the other ships first. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
There were 9 of us on this holiday. 8 adults and a 9 month old baby. Embarkation went very smoothly but then our flight arrived earlier than we said and we were able to get on board by 11 am. If you can then do this. The ship is ... Read More
There were 9 of us on this holiday. 8 adults and a 9 month old baby. Embarkation went very smoothly but then our flight arrived earlier than we said and we were able to get on board by 11 am. If you can then do this. The ship is huge but to be honest seems the same size as the Allure of the Seas (which I've also travelled on). I'm told the difference is the amount of people they crammed on to it and to be honest that's how it felt. Long queues for lifts, no room to sit by the pools (unless you pay extra for the private pool area) and basically just hundreds of people milling about. As someone who didn't want to get off the ship I thought I would get some relief once at port but it seemed not. Still hundreds of people milling about. Well this is the third time I have cruised the Mediterranean (not all with RCCL) so I pretty much know the ports well and I was not disappointed. My party did not use any of the shore excursions but chose to visit Rome, Pisa etc using public transport with great success. Might be well worth looking into this if you're indeed thinking of cramming yourself on this ship. If all you are after is seeing lovely cities then this is the cruise for you. If however you are also wanting a lovely time on board the ship then my advice is look again. As someone who was to spend most of my time on the ship I was surely disappointed. The service was very, very poor. Service charges are now added automatically and have been for some time. This of course means that staff have no incentive to deliver a decent service. We had a 9 month old baby who ate no food (nothing was provided from RCCL - we could of course pay extra for baby food - babies are not really made welcome), required no bed to be made, however, be aware that $14.50 is automatically deducted as service charge for this baby. Basically, service is nothing like it used to be. If you have low expectations then this is the cruise for you. I bought a drinks package but was consistently told that that something was not included only to find out later it is. Remember that you need to ask for a can of coke as they won't give you one automatically. They will try to give you the regular non-alcoholic cocktails but for your information you can ask for any non-alcoholic cocktail you like - be persistent. Yes it's a shame but there you go that is what the Royal Caribbean has come down to. I have cruised with them for over 25 years but now it is just a holiday camp on water with poor services and a never ending tirade of how to take money from you. The dining room was a huge disappointment forcing me to complain on ship. The head waiter actually asked whether we would give him a 10 grade on his review after making a bit of a scene at our dinner table. Research well your cabins. It may say on the brochure that a room is suitable for three people but it may not actually be what you are thinking. Look carefully at how the room is designed. The one that said it could take three people was configured in such a way that this would definitely not have been the room I would have chosen for our third occupant (the baby) - for which we paid almost full price. The third bed (i.e. the babies cot) was in the middle of the room. The other three rooms varied some of them had a bed in the middle some at the end. All measured exactly the same size just had the bed positioned at a different angle. I have no idea why the brochure chose that room as the one holding three people. It just didn't make sense. The entertainment (meaning the shows were really, really good). I just can't fault them. The "Picture This" photographer who took the professional pictures was terrible. These are not the ordinary ship pictures but other additional pictures. He said to us that he would be making good on the shading but when I went to pick up the pictures he had not done what he said. His assistant then spent a couple of minutes "giving it a go" and now that I'm home I realise how dreadful they are. The photographer just kept on saying how busy he was and I really regret buying them. They were totally overpriced and a complete waste of money. It's easy to get carried away on holiday. My advice is to think very carefully about how much you're paying and what you would get at home. I can honestly say I will never travel with RCCL again. My family were equally disappointed. This was not a cheap holiday. We did not get value for money. RCCL overpriced and under delivered. Had we got a last minute cheap deal I would not be feeling so bad. But we didn't. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The good... Spotless ship...superb cabin......Broadway entertainment although didn't like Flight as much (maybe because I was tired) but Hairspray and Hiro were great.....Wonderful experience at the Wonderland Restaurant...Inshan the ... Read More
The good... Spotless ship...superb cabin......Broadway entertainment although didn't like Flight as much (maybe because I was tired) but Hairspray and Hiro were great.....Wonderful experience at the Wonderland Restaurant...Inshan the Mad hatter was excellent(he loves his job)....excellent itinerary(so many ports to see)...never felt crowded...embarkation and debarkation were both effortless for a ship this size....so much do on board....great WIFI.. great food at Solarium Bistro for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bad.... No free lobster in the main Dining room on the second formal night, was told it was too expensive to ship lobster to Europe. Was disappointed. RCCL should advise seasoned cruisers before the cruise. Crab cakes with imitation crab meat.....I was shocked....not good RCCL, can do better!!! Couldn't find birthday cake order even after confirming twice on-board before birthday night..when the cake arrived it was overly sweet and couldn't be eaten. ...eventually got a refund Dinning room service slow and disorganized on second formal night above all will cruise on the Symphony of the Seas again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My daughter booked this cruise to suit dates and needs of myself and her two daughters (16 & 12). Daughter & I shared a balcony cabin, the girls an inner cabin (see below). The ship looked shabby, & to be honest, quite 'tacky' ... Read More
My daughter booked this cruise to suit dates and needs of myself and her two daughters (16 & 12). Daughter & I shared a balcony cabin, the girls an inner cabin (see below). The ship looked shabby, & to be honest, quite 'tacky' in terms of decor. Very overcrowded - almost impossible to find a vacant sunbed at times. As a vegetarian, having recently had gallbladder surgery, food an important issue for me. Disappointed to find only one veggie option on the main menu & one evening I had to ask for an omelette in lieu of any suitable alternative. The buffet-style restaurant was 'a bun-fight' - finding a table a nightmare. My daughter & I found the Park Cafe a small, little-used venue near the health spa, suited us better & though a limited choice, much better quality. Entertainment variable. Health Spa prices extortionate. Embarkation difficult & disorganised, with long queues. Positives? Friendly, efficient staff - when you could find them! Warning: beware service charges and overpriced excursions - we arranged our own via buses/taxis (much cheaper). My daughter and I have cruised before, once with Celebrity (the best!) and last year P&O (not great but better than Royal Caribbean) but would not recommend this ship/cruise company to anyone, though I understand some of the RC ships are better. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Tip: if taking the europe cruise better to get on/off at Rome as opposed to Barcelona. Most people (85%) get on at Barcelona so the Rome checking in/out is a little easier and quieter. GOOD 1. Check in process was very easy and ... Read More
Tip: if taking the europe cruise better to get on/off at Rome as opposed to Barcelona. Most people (85%) get on at Barcelona so the Rome checking in/out is a little easier and quieter. GOOD 1. Check in process was very easy and smooth 2. Rooms were very spacious compared to my other cruises. The extra money for a sea balcony view is worth it. 3. The ports of call were great places to go (although do not book shore excursions through the boat) 4. Service was great 5. We had the kosher meals which were pretty good and they were incredibly helpful with all our kosher needs. Tip- the pretzel kosher hot dogs are fantastic and can even get them during the day at the hot dog stand at the Boardwalk. 6. Central Park is beautiful place to sit and breakfast in the Central Park Cafe is quite pleasant BAD 1. Can only get food until like 9pm. After that can only get coffee and cake. Other cruises I went on had more options available until around midnight. Could not get ant late night ice cream or snack 2. There is no room in the pools. For 6500 people you would expect bigger size pools. Things can get a bit hectic during the at sea day. 3. Guest Services on the boat moves quite slow and they take forever to help you. If you have an issue try taking care of it during an off time 4. I wasnt a fan of the entertainment. I thought the HIRO show was average and was not too impressive except for one or two moments. 5. They charge a ton of money for the shore excursions. The places visited are amazing so take the time to organize trips on your own TIPS: 1. The card room (or your balcony) is a good place to get some piece and quiet and read a book or the like 2. Dont go to the windjammer ever! Much better to eat breakfast either in the main dining room or Solarium 3. For kosher people, pretzel dogs at the hot dog stand at the Boardwalk 4. Book cruise to get on/off in Rome not Barcelona Read Less
Symphony of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.4
Family 5.0 4.4
Enrichment 3.0 4.0
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.8

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